Performance Improvement Plan for a Junior High School Principal

Honestly, is this performance improvement plan more humiliating for the principal who has to work under it for a year, or for a superintendency that sees no shame in directing a full-fledged principal to conform to standards of behavior that he should have learned in kindergarten?

As Dave Barry says, “You can’t make this stuff up.” So let’s just quote the whole thing. First is Superintendent Dave Allison’s letter dated April 5, 2013, then the PIP itself.

Dear Brian:

As you know, Gilbert Public Schools (the District”) conducted an investigation last spring of allegations that were made concerning events at Highland Junior High School while you were assigned as principal there. While the investigation found that allegations of sexual misconduct and retaliation were inconclusive, at best, with respect to one individual and simply insufficient with respect to any others, there were items pertaining to your management skills and professionalism in your role as a principal that must be addressed. In particular, there were concerns about your consistent enforcement of staff dress code, the appearance of favoritism towards certain employees, and the need to be cognizant of where and when you meet with District staff at the school where you are assigned.  District Policy GBEB states, among other things, that employees shall “demonstrate positive and appropriate relationships with … staff members, and others.” Accordingly. the District has determined to place you on an improvement plan (the “Plan”) to address those issues, a copy of which is attached.

This plan is effective immediately and will be in effect throughout the next academic school year (2013 -2014), unless it is extended in the discretion of the District. Failure to satisfactorily complete this plan may result in discipline or termination. The Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services shall be responsible for evaluating whether the requirements of the Plan are met. In addition, you will be assigned a mentor, who will be designated by the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, who will provide training, guidance, and support throughout the duration of the Plan.

Sincerely,
Dave Allison, Ed.D
Superintendent Gilbert Public Schools

*********

Brian Yee
Improvement Plan
April 15, 2013- June 30, 2014

Areas of concern:

1. Management of staff.

a. Treat all staff members in a consistent manner with respect to dress code.
b. Avoid any appearance of favoritism. Make every employee feel uniquely appreciated.
c. Be conscious of when and where one-on-one meetings with staff members are held.

2. Professionalism.

a. Treat all staff members in a consistent manner with respect to dress code.
b. Avoid any appearance of favoritism. Make every employee feel uniquely appreciated.
c. Be conscious of when and where one-on-one meetings with staff members are held.

Steps for improvement:

Meet with a mentor designated by the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services once before the end of the 2012-201 3 school year and at least one time each semester in the 2013/2014 school year, for a minimum of three (3) one hour meetings. The topics addressed will be management skills of a principal in managing staff (both classified and certified) and appropriate interaction with staff.

At all times avoid actions that may reasonably be construed as favoritism of particular staff members who work at the school where you are assigned as principal, such as socializing with particular employees without including other employees. Each staff member should feel uniquely appreciated.

At all times consistently enforce the staff dress code.

At all times use good judgment with respect to when and where you spend time in meetings with female staff members who work at the school where you are assigned as principal. One-on-one meetings with female staff behind locked doors, while they may be perfectly innocent, should be avoided.

At all times comply with federal and state law and District policy.

Monitoring and Mentoring for Success:

Progress will be monitored by the District’s Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, who shall be responsible for evaluating whether the requirements of the Plan are met. A mentor, who will be designated by the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, will provide training, guidance, and support throughout the duration of the Plan.

The PIP was signed by Brian Yee and Dave Allison on April 5, 2013.

Okay, employees of Gilbert Public Schools who have been humiliated by having a PIP imposed on you – what do you think? Is this PIP consistent with the requirements foisted on you? Do you think Brian Yee can complete this PIP and rehabilitate himself? The Common Core Standards for Kindergarten are more exacting than this ridiculous PIP!

Didn’t you just feel “uniquely valued” with all the personal attention lavished on you when GPS put you on a PIP? We bet you were required to read books and write book reports; perhaps video yourself teaching (like that isn’t so intrusive as to destroy the teaching environment); write weekly progress reports to tattle on yourself; and meet with your inquisitor every other week. You probably were put on a schedule of incessant observations and subjective evaluations by the so-called “instructional leader” who probably has fewer than three years of classroom experience. (But who knows everything about how you should handle every aspect of your job.) The person imposing punishment also determines whether or not you were sufficiently penitent at the end of the PIP to be allowed to keep your job. But you wouldn’t really be finished – the sword of Damocles would be hanging over your head, falling swiftly if your inquisitor decided you did the least little thing “wrong”– termination with no notice would be the result!

Okay, Superintendency, you have made Gilbert Public Schools a laughingstock, not just of the valley, not just of the state, but of the nation. Westie gets love notes from school districts and teachers all across this big ole United States of America, and we guarantee you, not one of them will believe professional educators actually thought this up, let alone put it in writing, and then signed it, to boot! What were you smoking?

Assistant Superintendent Shane McCord, was this POS PIP worth throwing away your last shred of integrity? How will you look people in the eye and “coach” them to improve … especially on a PIP? How can you ever terminate someone’s employment again?

Assistant Superintendent Barb VeNard, how did you get roped in to this travesty? We don’t see how you can win in this situation.  There is no way you can assess Brian Yee’s improvement (or lack thereof) in just “three (3) one hour meetings” over the course of a year.  What are you supposed to do?  Ask him if he’s in locked closets with his staff?  Ask him if anything has been happening lately in those closets?  How will you know if he’s telling the truth short of bugging the closets at Greenfield Junior High School?  No one envies you this assignment. We all want you to keep the door open and consider making a video recording of these sessions with Brian Yee.

<Keyboard to Westie:  You’re killing me here! Barb VeNard has to decide how wonderful Brian Yee has performed.  Snicker, snicker, snicker. And maybe even give Brian Yee a chance to perform on video? Can I draw a picture?>

In addition to the onerous requirement of three (3) one hour meetings with Assistant Superintendent Barb VeNard, Brian Yee will be assigned a mentor to provide training, guidance, and support. What are the chances that mentor will be Director of Professional Development Andrew Szczpaniak, a dude who likes to toot his own horn? <Keyboard: A tutor who tooted a flute…>

Principal Brian Yee, why didn’t you just resign rather than submit to the indignities you have endured over the past two weeks? Now there can be no doubt about what that “double dutch super secret” report said about you, and perhaps about those four women, and certainly about how this PIP seems to confirm some of the allegations that we snipped from public records. Had you faded away into the sunset, you might have been able to salvage your dignity, and perhaps even your career.  All of this would have been just rumor. Now it’s not.

Here are lessons from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten that are more realistic that Brian Yee’s PIP:

1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Flush.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

“Hide-and-seek, grown-up style. Wanting to hide. Needing to be sought. Confused about being found.” [Don’t go there, Keyboard!]

“So you drive as far as you can, even when you can clearly read the signs. You want to think you are exempt, that it doesn’t apply to you. But it does.”

Don’t you just love Karma?

Click here to view Dave Allison’s letter and Brian Yee’s Performance Improvement Plan.


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